NAISA Registers with SGA in time for Indigenous People’s Day


Indigenous People’s Day table set up in Kent Campus Center

by Paul Hyatt, Staff Reporter

Thirteen states currently recognize Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 12. Iowa is not one of those states.  

Instead, Christopher Colombus, a man who is recognized to have caused the death of millions of Indigenous people, is celebrated. 

The Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAISA) chapter at Simpson College hopes to help shift this focus.  

“It’s not like we’re against Columbus Day or anything,” Walter Lain, Assistant Dean of Multicultural & International Affairs, said. “ But to not acknowledge the heritage and what Columbus has done is wrong.”

According to NAISA’s faculty advisor Carolyn Dallinger, the club has been registered with SGA this week and is ready to start gaining members.  

The club is looking for members of any background who want to learn about and support issues faced by Native American communities,” Dallinger said in an email. “Both celebration of cultures and learning about social justice issues faced by Native American peoples are important topics for NAISA.” 

There are currently 19 students who identify as Native American at Simpson.  

Heidi Ekborg-Ott, a third-year at Simpson, was elected as the new president for the club. She is staying off-campus this semester but can be contacted by email.  

“I was not expecting to be president of NAISA, but I have learned that when there is a need and no one else to fulfill it, someone must step up,” Ekborg-Ott said in an email. “I cannot claim to understand the Native American perspective nor am I affiliated with any tribe in the U.S. Nonetheless, I feel it is important that all Native Americans persons have a presence on campus and a space to share their history, traditions, beliefs, and perspectives.” 

According to Ekborg-Ott, the main purpose of the club is to raise awareness through their events.  

“I am so excited to see how NAISA will develop and evolve at Simpson, but for now we are just focused on spreading awareness and gathering more committed members, both Native American and allies alike as all students are openly welcome to join NAISA,” Ekborg-Ott said. 

At a tabling in Kent Campus Center on Monday, Indigenous Peoples Day, Lane brought up how Simpson alums wore Redman clothing to last year’s homecoming game. Redman was Simpson’s old mascot. Lane says it is issues like those that demand a presence for NAISA on campus.  

“The land that Simpson sits on was held in trust because people that were there before us took good care of it,” Lane said. “We need to acknowledge that.”  

Any student who is interested in becoming involved with the club can contact Dallinger, Ekborg-Ott, or Lane for more information regarding the club and future events.